Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jake and Ginger: My attempt to adopt a second dog

This weekend I went to the Wisconsin Humane Society twice. First to check out a dog named Jake, then to have him meet Ginger. I had high hopes: Jake is a 9½-year-old shepherd husky mix. He’s black with brown paws and a bushy tail. He’s peppy but doesn’t need a lot of exercise. His paperwork described him as “shy and lacking confidence” and “needing his own quiet space,” but he was so sweet — I love dogs who lean into you when you pet them — I thought maybe he’d defer to Ginger and we could be a party of three.

Jake and Ginger are very different dogs. He has a smooth blocky head that doesn’t quite match his wavy fur. And he’s bear-like: round and stocky. Chubby with good teeth, someone took good care of him. (He doesn't really look like his photo. Also, his ears are floppier in person.) Ginger, on the other hand, has an Everydog quality about her. Even though she has super-expressive eyes and a pink-flecked gumdrop nose and can flip her ears inside out, what you’d first notice about her is that she looks like a prototypical dog. Personality-wise, they are also different. Jake is not motivated by food, toys, or exercise — and only mildly by praise. A nice laid-back guy. Ginger, on the other hand, vacuums up food and makes eye contact when she ignores commands. Very alpha.

The adoption counselor brought Jake outside and Ginger barked at him. They sniffed each other and he licked her mouth (a sign of submission, apparently). Then Ginger stood next to Jake, barking nonstop while he kept his back turned. This was actually okay until she tried to show her dominance by climbing on top of him. He snarled at her — not a good match. All of this transpired over maybe ten minutes. For most of that time, though, things were going okay, not horribly. Which makes me wonder: could they have worked it out? Isn't that what dogs do? They may pace and growl, but eventually, they fall into a comfortable relationship.

Jake is the third dog I’ve taken Ginger to meet and the one she best tolerated. But since she’s an older lady, I think she prefers to be the only dog. Around other dogs, she seems to demand both attention and submission, and who could keep up with that? I don't know how to find her a companion, but pairing a lover and a fighter isn't in the cards.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween 2007

Halloween is a holiday best celebrated by children, who look adorable dressed as little ghosts or cats. That’s cute. But most adults in costume don’t look cute — just creepy or skanky. Personally, I struggle with being misunderstood on Halloween: my renaissance princess somehow got interpreted as Crouching-Tiger-Hidden-Dragon and my orange sweater and jeans once annoyed a guy who happened to greet me at the door. But since a couple of work friends were having parties, I decided to give it the old college try.

I lucked upon a Cleopatra outfit at Jo-ann's half-price sale. Then, to make my costume more recognizable (more historical figure, less generic goddess), I ordered a gold headpiece. I chickened out because the beaded bangs emphasized my short forehead. An aside: I will never wear anything unflattering. So don’t plan on seeing me dressed as a clown or a pirate. But kudos to my sister’s friend Molly, who works an eye patch into her costume every year. This year, she was Little Orphan Annie. With an eye patch. Back to Cleopatra: does anyone know how to make a headpiece? I suppose I have the skills to do that. I had to make my gold armband, too, because the snake one I bought didn’t wrap well. I strung gold glass beads on memory wire. Toward the end of the night, it cut off my circulation. And I probably could have used bigger beads.

Joel, who does events marketing for Kalmbach, went Hawaiian in a grass skirt, leis, and bronzing oil. Our first stop: a party at Alison’s (she’s an art director for Art Jewelry and Make It Mine). She and her fiancĂ© gave guests mixed CDs with a map to their house. They were really creative with their lighting and decorations, too. Here I am with pals from the jewelry titles: Serene is a graphic designer for BeadStyle, and Jill and Addie are editors at Art Jewelry. I like that we look neither creepy nor skanky.

After Alison’s, we went to Boncher’s and stayed way too long. But it was a blast, challenging my view that Halloween is a miserable holiday that brings out the worst in people. Sometimes it's good to do stuff that's against your nature.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cool Jewels on FOX 6 WakeUp

Okay, maybe it wasn't so bad. Check out my Cool Jewels TV appearance.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kanye West and me

Kanye West is my hero. Not because he makes a jillion dollars a year or knows how to rock a pink polo shirt, but because he can make a mistake and handle it with style. Case in point: his performance on Saturday Night Live. He flubbed some words in "Everything I Am" and then regrouped: "I just messed up on my rap — live TV" and kept going, "But hey, here we go again." It was an inspired, inspiring performance. Crowd goes crazy.

This morning I did an appearance on live TV, demo-ing a necklace from Cool Jewels on a local news show. I had a hard time getting my nerves under control and wasn't as dynamic as I'd have liked. (Note to self: try not to demo a technique like crimping that requires fine motor skills.) The two people who saw the show noticed my hands were shaking when I tried to finish the necklace. And I don't have the freestyling skills that Kanye does, so I ended up not really having a solution and giving more importance to the parts where I struggled.

I had a good talk with our publisher afterward and she gave me helpful advice: "Try to get past the idea that things have to be perfect." This is challenging for a perfectionist. But, it's a worthwhile goal. And while I'm not a professional entertainer, I'm hoping to get more experience so I don't fixate on my mistakes. Also, the producer wants me to come back again next month, so it couldn't have been as bad as I remember it.

But hey, here we go again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My bedroom redesign, still

Here's a view of my newly painted bedroom: I love it! And check out the merlot-colored duvet cover, didn't that work out perfectly? I rearranged the furniture (the bed is in a different place), and it's helping me sleep better. Now I wake up to a more expansive view of my room.

My dog, Ginger, is still adjusting to the new arrangement. Usually, she sleeps in my room, but occasionally she likes to get settled in her crate and then come upstairs in the wee hours. Since I shut the door when I go to bed, she now has to bang her way in. She is smart enough to do this, but it never fails to scare me. We'll need to work on that. This is a new thing, sleeping with the door closed. It's all about the feng shui. I could probably say something about the metaphor of open vs. closed doors, but the insight eludes me. By the way, I'm still in the process of decorating. My friends Denise and Jeremy are going to help me assemble my new bed (which is now strewn about in the adjacent attic room) and Nameless is bugging me about gold accents, but this is all a work in progress.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Going back to Cali

On a happier note: On Saturday, November 10, I'll be doing a Cool Jewels book signing at The Bead Shop in Palo Alto. It'll be great to be back in No Cal. Also, how cool is it that Cal's football team is ranked #2 right now? Go Bears!

Friday, October 5, 2007


This summer, I pitched my idea for a second jewelry book to a publisher. I sent my proposal and a few jewelry samples. Got a rejection last week. The editor was really professional and told me that they're not acquiring basic jewelry books right now because the market is saturated and they want something more distinctive. That's a pretty good reason, actually.

I was disappointed: I had already envisioned a gorgeous book with my byline in an adorable font on the cover. Thick paper with photos of my gemstone jewelry on the pages. Sigh. But, even though I was bummed, I felt like I got a reprieve. I was having a hard time getting into the flow of designing (burnout from making so many earrings for our special issue? higher stakes with a second book? the unknown of working with a new publisher?). The thought of coming up with 40 new designs was intimidating.

If you never get rejected, it means you haven't aimed high enough. (This is another one of those platitudes that's true.) I'm not sure right now whether a second jewelry book is in the works — I need to spend some time thinking about the process of writing the book, and not just about the excitement of its publication. On a related note, check out Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment. One of my favorite points: that we find satisfaction not in the attainment of goals, but in the striving. So, aim high.

Monday, October 1, 2007

What I learned about painting

It takes a long, long time to prep before painting. Moving furniture out of the room was a chore. Then, applying blue tape to the ceiling took longer than I expected (window sashes, doors, and the odd angles of my attic added extra time). Plus, I had to clean the walls, spackle, sand, and cover the floor with plastic. Even though I've painted a lot of rooms, I'm always surprised by how long it takes.

I skipped the primer and crossed my fingers.

Yesterday, Bonch and I put the first coat of paint on the walls as we debated which of Prince's songs was his best ever. Him: "Let's Go Crazy"; me: "Purple Rain," though I might also argue "Erotic City" or "I Would Die 4 U" or even "I Wanna Be Your Lover." Luckily all of these are on the Hits and B-Sides album, which I'll listen to again tonight when I put on the second coat/touchups.

By the way, I went with Sherwin Williams' Verve Violet. I was planning on a more purple (less red) shade, but changed my mind once the duvet cover arrived. One thing I love about SW paints: they're very true to the color on the card. I'm happy with the results.

One last thing: my favorite painting tools are a 9-inch roller, a 6½-inch roller, and a foam brush. And 3M tape, 2 inches wide. I have mixed feelings about regular brushes and the edger, but maybe this is because I don't know how to use them. I could learn for my next project.